Can herbal teas help PTSD symptoms?
While any hot drink promotes relaxation, some herbal teas have been scientifically proven to help alleviate anxiety, and so can reduce some elements of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
We’ve listed some of the best herbal teas below to help reduce anxiety in PTSD:
Rooibos tea (also known as red bush) causes a drop in cortisol levels –fantastic news for PTSD sufferers. A great additional benefit is that rooibos is not from a tea bush so does not contain caffeine or tannin.
Valerian Root is thought to be one of the best teas for calming down. Hippocrates prescribed it as the cure for insomnia in the 4th century, but it’s also used in the 21st century to treat anxiety and stress.
Chamomile tea has long been used for its calming properties (it’s a very mild sedative). As such, a cup of chamomile tea before bed can help you get to sleep.
Lime Blossom (also called Linden)
Lime Blosson is a relaxant, and so has been used for nervous tension for centuries.
Not only is Lavender said to be an anti-inflammatory (good for your gut, which is good for your mind) but it’s also supposed to reduce anxiety, especially in ladies.
Known for its relaxing and calming properties, Lemon Balm is good for insomnia and reducing anxiety.
Peppermint tea can also be very calming, with the added benefit that the cooling effect can be great in the midst of the heating effect that panic attacks tend to produce.
Passionflower – not recommended during pregnancy
The calming effects of passionflower can be pretty impressive, but it is not a long term remedy in high doses. It is also a muscle relaxant (can be great for tense PTSD muscles), so be sure to test out how you react to it before trying out other activities after taking it.
Overall, the purpose of herbal tea is to help relax and calm temporarily, and so should be used in addition to other calming techniques that you might already have in place, or are learning to use, however the simple act of drinking any type of tea (as long as it’s decaffeinated) can have a positive impact on your anxiety levels, such as:
- Hydration: Dehydration can make anxiety symptoms worse (the body is made up of around 60-70% water and so when we are dehydrated, our bodies do not function as well.)
- Calm Activity: Drinking tea is also a slow, calm activity, which gives you an opportunity to sit back and time to relax.
- Routine: Make drinking tea part of your daily routine (routines themselves are naturally relaxing). Pour of cup of tea, grab a book or switch on the TV and relax.
A few important things to note:
– Many of these teas are available in tea bags, especially at local health food stores, but some of the herbs may need to be purchased loose.
– When purchasing these teas, look for brands that aren’t blended with black tea. The caffeine will offset the benefits.
– If you don’t like the taste of the teas, consider infusing them with other flavors, eg berries or lemon, or adding cream or honey.
– If you’re allergic to pollen, it would be wise to chat to your GP before taking any herbal teas.
– Always be sure to choose your herbal teas from a reputable health food store or pharmacy.
IMAGE: Birthday Breakfast Tea by Laura D’Alessandro
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